The draft version of the Indian government’s forthcoming National IP Policy has stated that the government ought to devise ‘a strong, balanced, predictable and transparent IP regime’, and that foreign companies must be encouraged to bring their IP-protected inventions and creations to India along with investment and technology transfer and establish their manufacturing, R&D and outsourcing bases in India. There has been a long drawn debate on the interface between IP and competition law, which has also received much scholarly attention and scrutiny.
To promote research and high-level dialogue on such issues, the Jindal Initiative on Research in Intellectual Property and Competition (JIRICO) brought together leading public policy academics, practitioners, researchers, lawyers and government officials from India and abroad to participate in a two-day workshop on ‘Standard Setting and Innovation in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector’, in Delhi on December 18 and December 19, 2015.
The workshop deliberated on crucial and inter-related issues of the draft National IP policy and the interface between law, economics and public policy. The aim of the workshop was to help promote research and high-level dialogue on such issues.
The event was inaugurated by Mr. Nalin kohli, National Spokesperson of the BJP. Mr. Kohli expressed hope that Initiatives like, “Make in India” and “Digital India” will transform India not only into a global design and manufacturing hub but also empower every citizen with access to digital services, knowledge and information. He further emphasized that, “The two programmes are critical and have tremendous potential of bringing far reaching and structural changes in India’s economic growth.”
Speaking on the occasion, Professor (Dr.) C Raj Kumar, Vice Chancellor, O.P. Jindal Global University, said, “The Jindal Initiative on Research in IP and Competition (JIRICO) is a very special project and part of a larger effort to be engaged in public policy making and also part of the evolution of new policies in the best interest of the country. Under this project, we hope to bring together experts, researchers and policy makers to engage in a meaningful conversation that will shape some of the central and critical issues in the interface of Intellectual property rights as well as competition law in the country. I am hopeful that your deliberations and discussions today, will help start that conversation on the right note.”
Delivering a special address at the forum Hon’ble Justice Mr. S. Ravindra Bhat, Judge, Delhi High Court, called for creating a balanced regulatory environment in the IPR sector, he said, “The teleological underpinnings of Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) largely remain constant, finding the right balance between promotion, securing innovation and creativity amidst the danger of overprotection is the need of the hour.” Justice Bhat also noted, “The interpretation of the issues and concept of IPR is extremely rudimentary in our country and, therefore, we do not see a unified structure in regulation.”
Speaking on the occasion Ms. Pratibha Singh, Senior Advocate and Member, National IPR Think Tank, said, “The IPR jurisprudence in India is evolving in a very balanced manner and the forthcoming years should see the country taking a lead in these matters.”
The key theme of the two day workshop was set around the subject of standard setting and innovation in the ICT sector and core discussions revolved around boosting the innovation climate in India, IP, competition and innovation challenges in the ICT sector as well as issues in standard setting. Participants were invited to evaluate such critical issues and to introspect into the best practices, in an international backdrop.
Speaking on the need to boost the innovation climate in the country during the first session, Dr. Shamnad Basheer, Honorary Research Professor of IP Law, Nirma University and Founder of Spicy IP blog said, “To question the process of innovation in the intellectual property sector, quintessentially refers to a paradox. The IP regime framework in the country is resistant to change and largely non-innovative and there is a significant need to rescript this narrative.”
Dr. Akhil Prasad, Country Counsel, Boeing, said, “India has very strong laws on intellectual property rights and Boeing does not see a threat of violation of these rights in the country, I believe the country has modern IPR laws and is at par with global standards.” Speaking on the Make in India initiative, he said, “Boeing is committed to support the Make in India campaign and it is only a matter of time before our signature aircraft, the F/A-18 Super Hornet can be manufactured in the country. India is one of our biggest markets outside the United States and we want to manufacture most of our products in the country.”
“Entry and continued growth of Indian businesses besides exponential consumer demand for standardised devices is evident of the fact that FRAND assured Standard Essential Patents have played a key role in promoting competition, generating employment and Entrepreneurship in the ICT domain. Thus, any dilution in existing IPR framework will make the existing ecosystem counter-productive hindering the growth of Indian businesses”, said Dr. Sheetal Chopra, India Lead – IPR Advocacy, Ericsson India.
The other distinguished speakers who chaired sessions in the workshop and spoke therein were Dr. Geeta Gouri, Former Member, Competition Commission of India, Mr. Sandeep Bhargava, Executive Vice President, Corporate Affairs & Public Policy, Vodafone India Limited, Mr. Pravin Anand, Managing Partner of Anand & Anand, Dr. Shubha Ghosh, Professor, University of Wisconsin Law School (USA), Dr. Shubhashis Gangopadhyay, Professor, Shiv Nadar University and Dr. Jay Kesan, Professor, University of Illinois Law School (USA).